Woman at the Well

The Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well is a picture of a rational sinner who can come to Christ. If a skid row prostitute can become a child of God, what is stopping any of us from doing the same? A familiar passage in the Bible is John chapter 4:5-42, where Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman at the well.

“ So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)  The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”  The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.” Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

As we read this passage, we learn a bit about a skid row prostitute and drug abuser who become a child of God, and then immediately become an evangelistic witness for Christ.

Picture these events as they unfold:

Jesus and his disciples had to pass through Samaria, It was around noon near Jerusalem, and it was probably a very hot day! Across the parched earth, a woman was walking toward the water well located on the edge of town. This is the same well that Jacob gave to his favorite son, Joseph, and even today this well still exists. The Samaritan woman was alone because the other, respectable women who lived in town, had been to the well early in the cool of the morning. They had all filled their pots with water for their needs of the day. This woman came to the well alone because she was considered an outcast in her village. She had been married 5 times and was currently living with a man who wasn’t her husband. So her reputation around the town was pretty low. She wasn’t a respectable woman, that’s why she arrived at the well in the middle of the day; so she wouldn’t be harassed by the respectable women who lived in the area. As she approached the well, she carried a heavy clay water pot toward the well, but she also carried a much heavier burden in her soul.

Having been confronted by Jesus with her blemished history, the Samaritan woman concludes that Jesus is a prophet. and was surprised He actually talked to her, because the Samaritans were despised and hated by the Jews. For the Samaritans recognized only the parts of the Bible that suited their needs for the moment. They made God fit for their own agenda. The Samaritans turned God into what ever they wanted Him to be, but as we all know, we can’t rationalize God into whatever we want Him to be. Yet Jesus took the time to talk with this woman, who was pretty much shunned by her community for her lifestyle choices. He offered her a most precious gift, living water of His salvation. She offered Him a drink of water, but what He offered her was so much more precious. And He gave her an added gift  By talking to this Samaritan woman, Jesus clearly demonstrated His belief that every one of us is worthy of receiving a drink from the living well of Christ’s love and mercy. And I think most importantly, as the latter part of the passage states, “Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony”, Jesus used this woman to spread His teachings. If He can use a sinful Samarian woman to share His message, then surely he must do the same with us.  Amen.

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